‘I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won’t last any longer than that.’- Donald Rumsfield (2002)
I hope you have kept up with the news on the Iraqi situation, defined by blood, violence and extremism on all sides; it seems hell itself has manifested itself, again, for the poor Iraqis. Suffering the chaos and sectarian violence of the U.S led occupation that led to the deaths of up to million civilians, they must again undergo the turmoil of crimes against humanity, as terrorism and state violence once again erupt.
‘I sent American troops to Iraq to make its people free, not to make them American. Iraqis will write their own history and find their own way.’ – George W. Bush
America has often attacked and coerced nations that behave contrary to their own interests, and such, in their attempts to dominate the politics of the Middle East; they led the invasion of Iraq. Under the guise of removing and destroying ill-gotten WMDS (weapons of mass destruction) belonging to Saddam Hussein, they led a brutal campaign utilising violence and torture, prolifically, to secure their own oil interests in the nation. A war of aggression is unjustifiable and actually criminal under international law. The conflict was very deadly and in the city of Fallujah, American forces used the , illegal , chemical weapon white phosphorus, and also carried out massacres and crackdowns on protests. The Ba’ath party (an Arab socialist party) which Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, belonged to, was annihilated and its members were all and completely removed from any position of relevance in the government. This concept of de-baathification, that the Americans believed would make Iraq more compliant to their interests, worked out terribly for the people of Iraq, who no longer had a functioning government to look towards. There was great difficulty as the Interim government grappled with the lack of any experienced former officials, as well as, facing American pressures to embrace the ‘free’ market and submit themselves to neo-colonialism.
‘Divide et Impera’ (Latin for Divide and Conquer)
The nation, which had previously been known for it sense of national consciousness and unity (in a dictatorship, you know where you stand in society) was violently up-rooted and amidst the murders and conflict became sect conscious. The Sunnis, Shias, Yazidis and Kurds, as well as, many tribal groups all decided to pursue their own interests, as the Iraqi state fragmented and became more sectarian. Nouri Al-Maliki came to power during the ‘free’ elections in Iraq, whilst the nation was still under American occupation. A notorious anti-Saddam dissident, he was also a Shia; a minority sect of Islam in Iraq. His neoliberal policies, lack of independence from American interests and consolidation of power in strictly Shia hands, alienated the Iraqi masses. Terrorism and insurgency continued bigger than ever, as groups such as ISIL (The Islāmic State in Iraq and the Levant) and Al Qaeda in Iraq increased their operations to topple the new government and ignite Sunni-Shia War.
“The desired Islamic state might be likened to an orchard planted with olive and palm trees that will take a relatively long time to produce fruit.”― Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
Through tactical brilliance and ‘advanced military leadership’, the Islamic State under Al-Baghdadi has risen to prominence in Northern Iraq. Managing to take large swathes of land from both Syria and Iraq, with a military described as ‘highly skilled’ in ‘urban guerilla’ warfare, it has proven itself a formidable faction. The rapid growth and successes of Islamic State, not only demonstrate, its own international and domestic support but also the fragility of the Iraqi military, which, the face of IS’s approach, simply fled; leaving vast quantities of technologically advanced weaponry to the militants. It has been rumoured that many of the gulf states have financing their operations, but it is also likely that their acquirement of lucrative oil-fields and robberies of banks in Mosul may have also contributed highly to their effectiveness.
‘When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.’ – Everett Dirksen
Time and time again, in Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Cuba and Afghanistan, history has dictated that using brute force to solve a societal problem is a foolish idea and an unsustainable solution and as such, without a credible alternative for all factions involved, Obama, simply, ordering air strikes cannot contain the situation. Islamic State isn’t simply a stain to be scrubbed away, they represent a Sunni nation hostile to the Shia government of , formerly Maliki and now, Abadi and a strand of extremist Islam that has found fertile ground in the marginalised, impoverished regions of Northern Iraq. The threat of religious fundamentalism upon societies, economies and the masses is real but always linked to economic progress. As societies become safer, growth increases and development occurs, people stop looking towards religion, and the metaphysical as an answer to their problems, but rather rationalism and secularism. Iraq is a nation in crisis, that cannot be fixed by any foreigner with any foreign agenda, the working classes and people of Iraq must do for themselves, the necessary steps to freedom from illiberal democracy and theocracy.
Thanks for your time,